Flashback to my Croatian cruise – Split to Dubrovnik and back in August 2007. Glorious weather, with plenty of sunbaking, swimming and sailing, interspersed with wandering around gorgeous little towns and eating all sorts of Mediterranean / Greek / Adriatic inspired food.
Croatia has to be one of my favourite countries, I had very little knowledge of the country or the specific places I was going to visit before landing in Split on a balmy Tuesday night, around 35 degrees Celsius at 9pm. Sometimes its best when you know little, you then usually have a fantastic experience.
Especially one that starts with climbing 5 storeys to stay in some old lady’s attic with UK Michael and American ‘Reckless Maggie’ who then take you on a 2 km bar hopping adventure, wading in the ocean at 10pm and having drinks with random Croatian strangers…
But that night is a tale for another day!
I was grateful for the suggestion from another seasoned traveller to take the train from Ljubljana out to Lake Bled. In the heat of summer the picturesque lake is turned into an outdoorsy playground, grass slopes, swimming, boat rides, bike riding, swan spotting and just snoozing lakeside in the sun. A very enjoyable day trip!
Sihanoukville is a beach side town on the Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia. You can spend your days sitting in a papasan on the sand, while locals bring you cocktails, pancakes, freshly cooked seafood and Asian meals.
Children and adults swarm around trying to sell you books, scarves, bracelets, fruit, crab, massages, manicures and fireworks…. an unusual way to relax!
There are memorable days while travelling. The day I hiked through Rose Valley, in the Cappadocia region of Central Turkey was one of them.
I awoke at 4am in a cave hotel. By 5am I was in a hot air balloon rising over the valley of rock formations. By 8am I was back at the hotel having breakfast, then by 9am onto a day tour. 10am walking the Rose Valley, through fields, over rocks, between crevices, in caves. Lunchtime climbing a rocky hill full of abandoned cave dwellings and houses. 1pm buying evil eye jewellery. By 2pm descending 9 levels underground in an underground city. 4pm hanging with hashish smoking French Canadians Boys . 5pm riding a motorbike across the valley to see the sun set (with said French Canadians). 6pm crashing said motorbike and injuring leg. 7pm on overnight bus to Istanbul, nursing swollen and bruised injured leg where I meet another solo traveller that I randomly met again and partied with in Berlin 3 months later.
Those are the days you live for. Ahh travel. Double Ahh for solo travel…
The first glimpse from the bus, still a few kilometres out of Paris, was like seeing Santa Claus in the flesh. Excitement isn’t even the word. I’d spent 26 years on the planet, with probably about 20 of them yearning for Paris. The Louvre, Arc De Triomphe, The tower.
I blame a project in year 4, where I painstakingly created red white and blue headings and borders with mini flags and croissants. Cutting pictures of famous sites out of travel brochures.
Then I was there, for a mere 2 days, then gone, vowing to return to my beloved Paris. In 2007, I did. Still swooning when I saw the tower for a second time.